This Rare 1959 Porsche That Raced in the Congo Now Heads to Auction – Robb Report

Dan Smith

The world of collector cars will ring in the new year with Mecum's largest auction, taking place January 4-15 at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida. Porsche 718 RSK center seat race car. Offered from the Rick Grant III estate acquired for collection in 1990.

A rare opportunity to add an early Porsche competition car to your stable. For many, or most, it was ravaged by time and wear and tear in its early racing careers long before it became the multi-million dollar treasure it is today. , with a central cockpit, was delivered new to its first owner, Christian Geethals of Belgium. He raced his 1st season and finished 1st overall at the 1959 Leopoldville Grand Prix in Congo, Belgium. The car took 6th overall and 3rd in class at the 1960 Buenos Aires 1000km Grand Prix and won the Reims Anvers hillclimb in Belgium twice overall.

A 1959 Porsche RSK race car at the Mecham auction on January 7th. mecham auction

At the end of the car's first racing season, Goethals had Porsche install a 1,600 cc engine, according to Mecum Auctions' lot description. The car was then stored in a factory in Stuttgart, Germany, until Goethals sold it to Carmelo his Gifre in Mohawk, New York. Eventually, Rick Grant of Dayton, Ohio acquired the car and commissioned it to be restored for his racing vintage. Over the course of his ownership, driver John Higgins was at the wheel and ran in over 100 events.

Introduced in 1957 and produced until 1962, the 718 RSK features a spaceframe chassis and Porsche's Type 547 roller crankshaft engine used in its predecessor, the 550 Spyder. Compared to the horizontally opposed 4-cylinder pushrod engines used in Porsche and Volkswagen of the time, Porsche's type 547/3, 1,587 cc, DOHC horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine producing about 142 horsepower was very It was a complicated and tense design.

1959 Porsche RSK race car.
The 718 RSK features a spaceframe chassis and a Porsche Type 547 roller crankshaft engine that produces around 142 horsepower. mecham auction

Of the approximately 34 718 RSKs built, 6 were built with a center seat set-up and only 4 left the factory with the ability to switch between center and offset steering, a left-hand drive two-seater. Now possible. Configured for F2 and sports car racing, the swap could be completed within hours. Nimble and light, this model, like the 718 RSK that finished 3rd overall at Le Mans in 1958, was a 'huge killer' in the hands of a good driver on the right circuit and far more powerful. defeated a strong competitor.

The cockpit of the 1959 Porsche RSK race car.
About 34 718 RSKs were built, 6 of which were built in the center seat set-up and 4 left the factory ready for conversion. mecham auction

Chassis number 718-028 is a rare model that retains most of Wendler's original aluminum bodywork. The complex Type 547/3 engine (No. 90220), dual Weber 46 IDM1 carburetors, and 5-speed transmission were rebuilt by Build Doil of Renwagen Motors his company in Costa Mesa, California. Doyle's shop specializes in the restoration of Ernst Fuhlmann's his 4-cam. An engine and a race car powered by it.

1959 Porsche RSK race car.
Chassis number 718-028 is a rare model that retains most of the original aluminum bodywork. mecham auction

Included in the auction are letters and telegrams from Goethals to Guiffre from 1963-1964, an invoice for a car exported from Germany to New York in 1964, and an original Porsche 718 RSK driver's manual. Rare to hit the market, less than half a dozen examples have sold at auction in the last three years, trading between $2.2 million and $5.1 million for him. The bid for this particular car is estimated to reach $4 million.

Click here for more photos of the 1959 Porsche 718 RSK for sale at Mecum Auctions.

1959 Porsche RSK race car.
A 1959 Porsche RSK at the Mecham auction on January 7th. mecham auction